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Job Search Tips: Interviewing: From Both Sides of the Table

Article List
Academic Libraries
      Disaster Recovery at Rio Hondo Community College
      Serials Holding Display Project at University of Southern California
      Staffing Strategies in Academic Libraries

AIM in the News
      Belinda Beardt, Speaker at SBVC Fall Convocation
      Belinda Beardt, Speaker at SCALL Fall Meeting
      Linda McKell Awarded the Mark Baer Award

AIM Services
      AIM Outplacement Services

Job Search Tips
      Electronic Resume
      Frequently Asked Interview Questions
      Interviewing Tips & Techniques
      Interviewing: From Both Sides of the Table
      Networking Quickies
      Questions to Ask the Interviewer
      Resume Writing Tips
      Retooling Your Career
      The Ten Commandments of Interviewing
      What else can I do with my Library Tech degree or certificate?
      What NOT to ask during an interview?
      Where to Find Library Jobs

Professional Development
      SCHOLARSHIP TO ATTEND the Annual General Meeting of the Society of California Ar

Public Libraries
      AIM's Project Team tackles San Francisco Public Library Project
      Creative Staffing at Torrance Public Library
      Fresno County Partners with AIM
      Solano County Library Expands

Special Libraries
      Consultants Provide Solutions
      Law Libraries - Staffing Strategies
      Microfilming History
      Non-Traditional Libraries
      The Law Librarian Employment Market

Interviewing: From Both Sides of the Table

Let's face it. Interviewing is a fact of life in getting a job. What many people don't realize is that it is often just as difficult for the interviewer on the other side of the table.

Interviewing is a skill that must be developed like any other task. Whether you are being interviewed or doing the interviewing, there are certain basic things you can do to be prepared and actually enjoy the process! Here are a few tips to use for both sides of the table:

If you are the Interviewee:

    Prepare for the interview. Find out something about the organization before the interview by talking to knowledgeable people or using library resources. Your preparation demonstrates your interest in the job and your initiative. Be on time. The worst first impression you can make is to be late for the interview. Arrive five to ten minutes early, but no earlier. You will be perceived as punctual, but not overly anxious. Use the extra time for reviewing your notes and deep breathing. Present a professional appearance. Dress appropriately, remembering that it is always better to be overdressed than under dressed. If you are confident in your appearance, you can concentrate on the interview. Be friendly and responsive. Help set a positive tone for the interview by being relaxed and friendly. Show interest and enthusiasm; listen attentively. Why should you be uptight? After all, you do not have the job to start with, so you have nothing to lose! Ask questions. As a result of your preparation, you should have questions to ask the interviewer. Remember, your goal is to find out if the job is right for you. Convey an attitude of wanting to help. The employer has a need or there would be no interview. How can you help? Do they have a job description? Ask questions that show your knowledge of the areas that the job covers. What are their expectations for the successful candidate? Follow up. Send a thank you note right after the interview. This is one of the easiest but most over-looked ways to make a positive impression. If you don't hear something in the time frame they gave you, call. Be persistent, pleasant, hopeful and helpful.

If you are the Interviewer:

    Review written materials. Look at the applicant's resume before the interview. Write down specific questions about the applicant's experience. Be aware of what you can and cannot ask of candidates. Establish a rapport. One goal for the interviewer is to see the "real" applicant. Set an open, relaxed tone that will help you gain their trust and confidence. You are more likely to get honest reactions to your questions. Review their experience. People feel comfortable talking about what they know the best--themselves. Ask questions about past positions, addressing specific areas that you want to know more about. Determine the applicant's goals. What does the applicant really want in their next job? Remember, an applicant who can do the job with their eyes closed may be an average performer or leave sooner than someone who finds the position challenging. Ask appropriate questions. Does their experience match your need? What other skills and strengths can they bring to the job? Don't fall back on just asking what are their strengths and weaknesses. Find out what they want to be learning and what skills they get excited about using. Do they have questions? Has the applicant learned enough about the company and the position in advance to ask some good questions? What are they looking for in their next supervisor? How are they best managed? How do they learn the most effectively?

A successful interview is like a first date. There is anxiety on both sides. However, there is also interest on both sides and a desire to get to know each other better. The employer needs to discover the applicant's abilities, skills and attitudes. The applicant needs to evaluate the employer's style and the job to determine if this position is the "right" one for them. Hiring the wrong person or accepting the wrong job is a serious decision that no one wants to make.

The more you are prepared for the interview, the more you will get to know each to determine if this is the right match no matter what side of the table you are on.

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